Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Biathlon
. . . .

Biathlon

Erin Crowell - December 6th, 2010
Biathlon, By Golly! Hot shots combine skiing and target shooting at Crystal Mountain
By Erin Crowell
Cross country skiing. It’s a wonderland excursion, swooshing through the white woods on a freshly groomed trail – breathing with the rhythm of every push and glide, silence enveloping…then suddenly… pop! pop! pop!
Screams, laughter and a paint-plastered target.
It may not be the intense, competitive sport we saw in Vancouver this past winter, but the new biathlon course at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa has all the same elements – just substitute bullets with paintballs and medals with high fives.
Happening every Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., participants can strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and test their marksmanship skills by shooting at a group of targets via paintball marker while walking or skiing along an off-road trail.
“We don’t like to use the word gun,” says Janice Davidson, recreation manager at Crystal Mountain, explaining the terminology behind “marker.”
A set of paintball markers are stationed at each target: five circles on a vertically-propped board, set off at different points along the looped trail. One loop takes approximately one hour to complete, says Davidson, who adds that the course is not intended to be a race.

SKI & SHOOT
Long before the first organized biathlon competition in Norway in 1776 (then called patrol races), people have been combining skiing and shooting -- since around 3000 B.C., when the technique was used for hunting purposes. Rock paintings depicting hunters with bow and arrow on sliding timber have been found near Roedoey, Norway; and writings describing the technique date back to Roman, Greek and Chinese historical writings.
From there, it transformed into a means of warfare – with military patrols popping up throughout the Middle Ages. By the end of the 19th Century, several countries including Germany and Switzerland had soldiers on skis.
It wasn’t until 1960 when the sport made its first Olympic appearance, which was then a team competition. Instead of the light .22 rifles, athletes shot with a Winchester Model 70s large Army rifle caliber. The targets: cardboard.
The sport gained momentum in 1992 when it was broadcast live on television during the winter Olympics and included a category for women.
A lot has changed in biathlon, but it still remains a fairly ambiguous sport to the general population – making it a truly unique winter activity.

FUN FOR ALL
“This is for anyone who enjoys paintball and wants to shoot at some targets or just enjoy a family friendly activity,” says Davidson. “You just need to be eight years or older to shoot the marker.”
Because the course is not timed, participants do not have to feel rushed. A two hour reservation block allots ample time to focus on target accuracy and completion of the course.
This summer, Crystal Mountain invested in a paintball course. Davidson says they worked closely with TC Paintball of Traverse City in setting up the course and acquiring the necessary equipment.
“We wanted to expand upon that,” says Davidson. “With the success of this summer, we decided to offer (paintball) as a weekly activity. We have the equipment in hand now, and we have everything to facilitate it.”
The biathlon course at Crystal Mountain combines two sports, each from a Michigan season, into an activity that anyone can try. It’s one more addition to a variety of off-hill amenities offered at the resort, which include everything from dog sledding and surrey rides to ice skate lessons and family bonfires.
“Just come out and do it,” says Davidson. “Even if we don’t have much snow this year—which we will—you can always walk the course.”

Writer Erin Crowell is a part-time employee in the recreation department at Crystal Mountain. The Crystal Mountain paintball biathlon course is open every Sunday, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with advanced reservations required. Please allow 24 hours to reserve your spot. Cost is $25 and includes paintball equipment, two-hour snowshoe or cross-country ski rental and trail pass. Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa is located off US-31 at 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. in Thompsonville. Visit crystalmountain.com for details or call 800-968-7686 ext. 7000.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close